A degree doesn’t have to be a strict three-year affair. There are part-time courses, distance learning possibilities, work-placement years, and all manner of choices to get you working in a way that fits your lifestyle.
The latest trend is with two-year degrees. Why spend three years doing what you can complete in two? It’s the same amount of work, but in a shorter space of time. You therefore need to be determined, enthusiastic, ambitious, and happy to ignore certain aspects of the social side attributed to university.
That’s not to say you’d be working 24/7, but the focus is automatically greater than the three year equivalent.
So what are the pros and cons? If you’re not already at uni, are you thinking that a two year course will suit you much better? Here are some of the things to think about:
- Potential to cost less – While it may not automatically work this way (i.e. check with the institution!), you may only need to pay about two-thirds of the price a standard 3-year degree would cost.
- You finish more quickly – experience university AND get to work soon? Best of both worlds.
- Less wasted time – The focus on blasting through the work in a third less time means that you won’t find huge chunks of time where you’re at a loose end. It’s nice to have free time, but it can work to our detriment if we have too much. You may find yourself taking longer than needed on tasks simply in order to fit the timescale.
- Shows enthusiasm – Unless 2 year degree courses become a more popular norm, any employer should be impressed that you completed your study a year less than most people do. And if you incorporate your positive reasons behind wanting to complete in 2 years, it should look even more promising to prospective employers.
- Less social time – Maybe you don’t find loose ends. Perhaps you thrive on the social life instead. With a 2 year degree, your timetable won’t have as much free time as those of other students on the standard 3 year fare.
- You finish more quickly – Just as negative as it is positive. What if you love the university experience? Will you start questioning whether you really did want to fast track your way into the big bad world?
- Less flexibility for part-time employment – Uni may be costing less over the whole time, but if you need to hold a job down to stay in education, a 2 year course may not work out. Working greater hours on your study gives you less time to do anything else.
- At odds with the majority of students (for now, that is) – If you’re looking for the standard ‘student experience’, you’re best off taking a course that follows the usual path of 3 years (or sometimes 4 years). But with so many 18 year olds entering HE (and potentially more if the school leaving age goes up to 18), a ‘standard’ path won’t work for everyone. So while this point isn’t all negative, it is something you need to consider carefully when summing up the reasons WHY you want to go to university.
- More difficulty getting tutor contact – Some tutors are hard to get hold of throughout a traditional three year course. With less time to waste, the issue of contact is even more important, so certain tutors may cause you to pull your hair out. Check my 6-point checklist for better feedback if you don’t get the communication you’re looking for.
The Independent has a piece on two-year degrees, including the differing opinions out there. A good read if you’re considering the option.
Can you think of any other reasons why two-year degrees may or may not be a good thing? Let me know in the comments!